Importance of afterlife in ancient near east

Importance of afterlife in ancient near east




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Importance of afterlife in ancient near east

For all the Egyptians, they believed that life still continued even after death. Judging the dead was the only process that allowed their gods to judge the worthiness of the souls of the deceased. Egyptians believe on immortality was deeply rooted whereby it was judged through the journey of afterlife. These believe were very important to Egyptians as they were found secured in places like temples, monuments and tombs.

Funerary art 1

Below capture was used for offerings. The most importance of the offering fell on the eldest son of the dead. These gods required some rituals in order to maintain peace among the living. Non-elite and elites needed the rituals but for the elites it was highly emphasized. Immediate family needed etemmu in order to differentiate them from the elites and non-elites. The immediate family was recognized by the descendants. All ancestors of the reigning king were offered royal cult offering in contrast with distance relatives. When offering continued regularly, the etemmu remained at peace and the pacified ghosts were friendly (Scott et al. 2009). The ghosts were also inducing the living. Those people who did not receive a nice burial remained restless ghosts or demons which are vicious.

Worshipping male votive

Funerary art 2

Below captured image is one of the portrayals of netherworld which clearly describes a subterranean great city. This ‘gal’ is protected by seven walls and well established gates. This is the place where the spirits of those who are dead dwell. All the jewelry and clothes are stripped at the gate until she entered naked in the seven walls. This means that the elite rituals could last for almost seven days. The dead were secured by particular deities (Ḥak̲lîlî, 2005).  The deities were ranged in hierarchical order according to supreme chief of head. It was believed that those lived in great city was the community of the living.

Old Babylon, the Queen of the night


Scott, D. A., Warmlander, S., Mazurek, J., & Quirke, S. (2009). Examination of some pigments, grounds and media from Egyptian cartonnage fragments in the Petrie Museum, University College London. Journal of Archaeological Science36(3), 923-932.

Ḥak̲lîlî, R. (2005). Jewish funerary customs, practices and rites in the Second Temple period (Vol. 94). Brill.

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